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Clause 11 — number and distribution of seats

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill (Programme) (No. 4) – in the House of Commons at 6:00 pm on 1st November 2010.

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Photo of Charles Kennedy Charles Kennedy Liberal Democrat, Ross, Skye and Lochaber 6:00 pm, 1st November 2010

Yes, I agree completely with the hon. Gentleman. In a moment of political frustration when he was Prime Minister of Canada, Mackenzie King said that the problem with Canada was that it had too much geography and not enough history. If anything, we have more than our fair share of both in Scotland, and that certainly comes through in considerations of the type that the Bill gives rise to. That is why the hon. Gentleman's point about his part of the country is very valid.

Time is tight, and I do not wish to detain the House much longer. I want to stick to principles rather than becoming formulaic. Indeed, I have far better versed colleagues on hand, who can provide chapter and verse and who would leave the rest of us goggle-eyed with their statistics and equations, all of which I endorse, I hasten to add. I am always at my best in politics in such situations. The less one understands the issue, the more confident one can sound-witness the shadow Minister tonight.

Looking at the proposals, it makes eminent sense that the Western Isles are, and should be, a distinct, unique constituency. I remember growing up when the Western Isles constituency was bisected and was answerable partly to Dingwall and partly to Inverness. That was an absolutely atrocious affront to democracy for the communities there. It is a good thing that we have a unique, distinct constituency now, and I am pleased that it will stay that way.